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The last diary of this little series finding the path for a Democratic majority in the US Senate after 2018 elections is in. With today's diary the series is finished. Even the results of today's poll will be included in the diary with updates.

As I explained in previous diaries, to think and to talk about the overall picture is not only good. It is necessary. Only by this way we can know as example what kind of effort we need today in order to have success in the mid-long term. Sometimes the effort in the short term required for a success in the mid-long term can be bigger than the effort for a success in the short term. And we need to know it to do the necessary effort in the short term.

Also, we have in our community a common knowledge that is valious and need to have ways to go out. This can be one bid for it, with the tools that we have here. The polls of these diaries are like a common box where we mixed our opinions about this issue.

Keep reading because the most interesting stuff come now. We created a rank of races, from the easiest to the most difficult races, according to the votes of the readers. The final rank is in this diary and also the conclussions.

And also keep taking part because today's poll is also important to improve and to finish the rank.


After the results of the polls of all the diaries of this series, this is the Rank:

38.- 38 seats with D incumbent in the area of relative comfort

39.- IL-Sen 2016: M Kirk seems one of the most endangered Republican incumbents and will need to run in a unfavourable state in a likely unfavourable environment. Between the potential Democratic challengers according to some polls M Obama would have the best results. More likely candidates like L Madigan are also polling well. Still the race can down to a Toss-Up situation with lower level Democratic challengers.

40.-WI-Sen 2016: R Johnson is also very endangered. In the last days we even read about him involved in some scandal. Between the potential challengers R Feingold is polling the strongest, and the race can become easily a rematch. Again, in this race the Democratic Party would be favored (a Lean D situation) but if weaker candidates run in the Democratic side the race can also enter in a Toss-Up situation.

41.- WI-Sen 2018: T Baldwin is not specially weak, but her home state was the alone D+ state where a Democratic incumbent (R Feingold) has been deafeated in the last years (in a Republican wave). If the environment of 2018 becomes as hard as in 2010 this race can become a Toss-Up if the strongest Republicans run. At this point her strongest potential challenger can be the current governor S Walker.

42.- VA-Sen 2018: The Republican bench in Virginia is getting smashed in the last years, and in part thanks to T Kaine. Someone like J Kilgore can make the race competitive, but I'm not sure that he can make the race a Toss-Up.

43.- OH-Sen 2018: S Brown can be challenged again. The Republican bench is stronger in Ohio than in Virginia, but maybe only the term limited governor J Kasich or a recovered M DeWine can make the race a Toss-Up.

44.- KY-Sen 2014: The Republican leader in the Senate, M McConnell is showing weakness to win in his home state. He has a serious primary challenge (in 2010 the Republican stablishment lost the primary vs the Tea Party style candidate) and also has a serious challenger from the Democratic side. I would not tell A L Grimes is favored, the race was rated as LeR in my rating chart, but in the last days moved again to Toss-Up. This race can be a big headache for the Republican stablishment all the year.

45.- FL-Sen 2018: W Nelson proved to be strong in Florida in 2012. The last year only J Bush polled enough well vs W Nelson to make the race a Toss-Up. If the Democratic senator retires not it seems difficult to see him endangered, even in a political environment worse than in 2012. The Republican bench in Florida is long but not too strong, because only a few of them have a statewide profile.

46.- PA-Sen 2016: The bench of potential challengers for the Republican incumbent P Toomey is very strong, including E Rendell, J Sestak and K Kane, and the Republican incumbent is polling weak. The race is a Toss-Up and it is a  serious chance for another gain in 2016 for the Democratic Party.

47.- WV-Sen 2018: Despite WV is becoming a difficult state, the Republican bench is so short. WV-Sen 2014 (Open by D) and WV-Gov 2016 (Open by D) are making this bench shorter. Still some serious candidate can be ready for this race. I think the Republicans will fight the race like they are fighting every race in R+ territory. But it seems the easier option of the group at this point.

48.- NH-Sen 2016: The prospect of a gain for the Democratic Party is serious here. M Hassan and J Lynch can make this race a Toss-Up. K Ayotte is seriously endangered.

49.- NV-Sen 2016: This seat can be a lose if H Reid retires. At this point only three politicians can keep B Sandoval out of the senate seat. H Reid, Robert (Bob) Miller, the former Democratic governor, and B Sandoval himself, running for President or for Vice-President in 2016.

50.- AK-Sen 2014: M Begich, the young Democratic senator from AK, is becoming surprisingly resistant to the Republican challenge. At this point my rating gives Lean D to this race. But still there he will need to fight very much until november.

51.- MT-Sen 2018: J Tester is not in his firts term but after two narrow dictories, this race can go by the same way also in 2018. The situation can be very close to the previous cases (MO, ND or IN). It would be a Toss-Up if the Republicans have a decent candidate. The Republican bench in Montana is the shortest of the states in this situation, but they also have the strongest potential challenger in all these states with M Racicot, who can be favored over J Tester.

52.- AZ-Sen 2016: The first polling numbers are showing J McCain very weak. G Giffords is performing the best between the potential Democratic candidates, leading over him, in a situation that can be a Toss-Up. In states like Arizona it is not easy ton know if is better to have a dammaged incumbent or to have an open seat.

53.- FL-Sen 2016: M Rubio is flirting (too much) with a bid for president in the year when he should run for reelection. At this point the chance of an open seat seem low, but M Rubio is weak enough to be considered a good goal for 2016. The Democratic bench in Florida is not too strong. In the last years the strongest Democrat (after W Nelson and C Christ) running for high level office was B Castor. A Sink, considered one of the strongest potential challenger lost recently a race of a lot lower level.  

54.- IA-Sen 2016: The race for this seat can be competitive for the first time in decades. T Vilsack, the former governor and current Secretary of Agriculture in Obama's cabinet and H Clinton are putting enough pressure over C Grassley to retire. But even if C Grassley retires not the race can be competitive with T Vilsack.

55.- OH-Sen 2016: The last case of this list of potential options for the Democratic Party in R+ states (PVI), would be the seat that today hold R Portman. Some of his recent positions can make him vulnerable in the Republican primary, but still, with T Strickland ruling out the race, the Democratic bench can be a little weaker than in other commented states. In the other side the nature of the state is more favourable.

56.- LA-Sen 2014:  M Landrieu also is being strong enough to keep the race very competitive. She is also in Toss-Up in my numerical rating. The electoral system of LA with the run-offs and the need to come very close to a 50% in order to win the seat, makes she needs an aditional effort, but at this point it seems that she can do it.

57.- NC-Sen 2014: There is a tough outside campaign since the begin of the cycle against K Hagan. Until now this campaign of outside money has not been enough contested. I hope it changes, and with a more balanced spending this race can be a pure Toss-Up until the end, just like NC was in the lasts presidential campaigns.

58.- GA-Sen 2014: The race for the Open by R seat is becoming competitive thanks to the efforts of M Nunn. I would not tell that she is favored. The race is rated as Lean R in my rating chart, but the Republicans have a so unpredictable situation here. Still GA is a state where they win habitually in the statewide elections of the last years.

59.- ND-Sen 2018: H Heitkamp one of the group of Democratic senators that win in 2012 in R+ states by narrow margin. No doubt, this will be a difficult race. The environment in 2018 can be worse than in 2012 but the they will be incumbents. Surely the best case that we can expect is a AK-Sen 2014 situation with M Begich stronger than expected. The bench of Republicans in ND is so big and strong thanks to a good number of statewide elected offices in Republican hands. E Schafer can be the strongest of them.

60.- AR-Sen 2014: The last polls of the race improved the prospect for M Pryor and is making many people to reconsider this race. In my rating this race reached a Lean D rating (I have a narrow range for the Toss-Ups). It will be necessary to fight very hard to keep the seat, but also it will be necessary to fight very hard to to defeat the incumbent.

61.- NV-Sen 2018: D Heller won in 2012 underperforming M Romney in a state that M Romney lost. He is fairly weak. The strongest potential challenger for him would be the former governor R (Bob) Miller. Running with the best the race would not be worse than a Toss-Up, and even more potential challengers can make it a Toss-Up.

62.- KY-Sen 2016: Again a popular Democratic politician can create some trouble to a Republican senator, in this case R Paul. As in the case of M Rubio, I think not that this seat will be open. And in the case of being open it would be difficult to win the seat in Kentucky with R Paul in the top of the ticket, even with H Clinton in the Democratic Party. Not an easy prospect but maybe some chance, and surely a competitive race.

63.- MO-Sen 2018: In 2012 C McCaskill proved to be a smart woman and it is not easy to defeat her despite to be not the most popular politician. Her chance for the re-election will depend of how bad can be the environment in 2018. The bench of potential candidates that have the Republicans is enough to make the race competitive.

64.- IN-Sen 2018: Again the same history for J Donnelly but in a little more favourable state. Indiana is the kind of state where an incumbent not unpopular cand defend himself. The most likely situation would be a Toss-Up race. Also the Republican bench is so strong in Indiana with M Daniels as the most difficult potential challenger for J Donnelly.

65.- NC-Sen 2016: R Burr is not a specially weak incumbent but NC is not as hostile state. Taking into account the prospect of a favourable year in 2016 with H Clinton as candidate, we can not forget this seat. The Democratic bench is good. There is a decent number of Democratic statewide eleccted officers, but in NC there is not a local strong star like in other states (Beebe, Bayh, Bredesen, Beshear,...).

66.- MO-Sen 2016: The Democratic Party would have a strong challenger also for R Blunt. There is not reason to think that R Blunt is weak, but J Nixon is fairly popular and can make the race competitive. The current governor of MO is term limited in 2016 and to challenge R Blunt can be a natural step in his political career, taking into account that C McCaskill holds the other seat in MO.

67.- IN-Sen 2016: This is another seat that can be endangered for the Republicans if a strong Democratic challenger emerges. D Coats seems not too strong, but habitually a Republican is favored in Indiana. Until now, the strongest Democratic challenger in Indiana seems the former senator E Bayh, despite to be unpopular in other places.

68.- MT-Sen 2014: The last Democratic incumbent, and surely the most endangered, J Walsh, has a serious challenger this year, and until now he seems not favored in the race. This race is rated as Lean R in my rating chart but with worse numbers than GA-Sen 2014. J Walsh is also the alone Democratic incumbent that is not leading the fundraising side of the race.

69.- AR-Sen 2016: At this point surely only M Beebe can endanger the re-election of the Republican senator J Boozman. We know not exactly if M Beebe is popular enough to defeat him, but I would not rule out it. Also H Clinton running for President can help to the Democratic prospect in this race.

70.- AK-Sen 2016: The last election for this seat makes see all the weakness of L Murkowski in a Republican primary in her home state. It is possible to see another similar situation in 2016. The race at this point is so unpredictable and L Murkowski can even switch party. In the last years, M Begich proved that a success of the Democratic party is possible. After him, Clark Gruening is the former candidate to high level elections with better performance in his last race.

71.- TN-Sen 2018: The weakness of B Corker and the strength of the Democratic former governor P Bredesen can give to the Democratic Party some chance for this seat in 2018. The environment will be worse than in 2012, but still maybe possible to bid. If P Bredesen rule out a bid, the chance of the Democratic party decreases strongly.

72.- 29 seats with R incumbent in the area of very low hope (including ME-Sen 2014).

Today's diary includes in the poll the positions 55 to 66 because they were defined in the previous diaryes by little margins, and new poll can help to see bigger differences between these races. This rank will be updated after the new votes in today's poll. Until now the rank is updated after 100 votes in today's poll.

These are the links to the previous diaries of this series, that are the source for this rank:

The Path I

The Path II

The Path III

The Path IV


1.- Overall picture. The first detail to note is that all this projection refects the expectation of a victory in the Presidential election of 2016. The strength the H Clinton is showing in early states of the races is leading the result of this projection.

The second important detail is that looking at the rank, the requirements for a majority after 2014 and after 2018 elections is very close. The 50 seat for the majority after 2014 is placed in the 50 position of the rank for a majority after 2018. At this point the effort to keep the majority after 2014 seems about the same than the effort necessary to keep the majority after 2018 for the people that voted in these series.

Also looking at the rank, there are big options to see a good number of seats changing of hands in these cycles. It is not easy to precise the range of races that the readers and voters would consider as a Toss-Up but approximately would be the races betwen the positions 44 and 61. It is a long range, and to see the range a little displaced toward the second half of the chamber is a good sign.

And finally, another important detail:
- 2014. There are 2 races in critical positions (must win) in Romney states (KY and AK).
- 2016. There are 0 races in critical positions (must win) in Romney states.
- 2018. There is 1 race in critical position (must win) in Romney states (WV).

It likely means that 2014 is the key year for the Democratic Party in order to keep the majority in the senate also after the 2018 elections. The Democratic Party likely needs to work hard in the short-term to have a success in the mid-to-long term.

2.- 2014. If we take the part of the rank refered to 2014, we have:

48 seats in the area of relative comfort (38 + WI-Sen 2018, VA-Sen 2018, OH-Sen 2018, FL-Sen 2018, WV-Sen 2018, NV-Sen 2016, MT-Sen 2018, MO-Sen 2018, ND-Sen 2018 and IN-Sen 2018).
49.- KY-Sen 2014
50.- AK-Sen 2014

51.- LA-Sen 2014
52.- NC-Sen 2014
53.- GA-Sen 2014
54.- AR-Sen 2014
55.- MT-Sen 2014

Well, there is not doubt that seats like NH-Sen 2014, IA-Sen 2014, CO-Sen 2014 or MI-Sen 2014 are key to keep the majority. There are must win races with a favourable situation until now. I was tempted to include MI-Sen 2014 in the polls, but even in a worst case situation it was difficult to see the race as a Toss-Up (it was a condition).

Also two seats in Romney states are marked as critical (must win) in order to keep the majority this year and after 2018. It is a difficult prospect that will require a lot of work, but it is not worse than a Toss-Up.

This rank means that between the readers there is a expectation of good results about KY-Sen. The people see easier this race than the rest of the races in R+ of this year, including the incumbents. It is a detail to take into account. It has been a little surprise to me.

3.- 2016. The people that take part in this series see inside the critical positions for a Demcratic majority after 2018 (must win races) the following cases:

IL-Sen 2016
WI-Sen 2016
PA-Sen 2016
NH-Sen 2016
NV-Sen 2016 Reid

And also placed in very interesting positions of the rank for more gains:

AZ-Sen 2016
FL-Sen 2016
IA-Sen 2016
OH-Sen 2016

If the Democratic Party loses the senate after 2014 elections, the readers see highly probable to regain the majority after the 2016 election. The question is if the gains of 2016 can compensate the potential loses of 2018. Looking at the results it is obvious that 2016 is the year to make gains before the potentially difficult year of 2018.

4.- 2018. The voters of this series see the following races inside the critical positions (must win races) to keep the Democratic majority in the senate after 2018:

WI-Sen 2018 Baldwin
VA-Sen 2018 Kaine
OH-Sen 2018 Brown
FL-Sen 2018 Nelson
WV-Sen 2018 Manchin

and see the following races out of the critical positions:

MT-Sen 2018 Tester
ND-Sen 2018 Heitkamp
NV-Sen 2018
MO-Sen 2018 McCaskill
IN-Sen 2018 Donnelly

The positions of the races in the rank shows that the readers expect not for 2018 a year as bad as 2010. Also it is good to see the confidance of the people about a good result in competitive states in 2018. Taking into account that this is the last cycle of the series it is not a bad place to begin.

This is all. As I explained before this is the last diary of this little series and the results of today's poll will be included in the diary with some update of the rank.

If you get interested about all this stuff and want to see the final results of this series, you can find them in some days in the right side of frontpage of DailyKos Elections. In fact, if you are intereseted about election talking, information and analisys, you always will find there very interesting analisys and comments.

Sorry if you see some mistakes in my writed English. I born in Europe and I'm not a native English speaker. I still write better in Basque, Spanish and French. Sometimes kind people help me, but this time I had not enough time to ask them for help.

Originally posted to abgin on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 06:10 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.


Vote for the easiest option for a victory of the Democratic Party.

12%13 votes
9%10 votes
6%7 votes
10%11 votes
5%6 votes
0%1 votes
8%9 votes
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11%12 votes
6%7 votes
23%25 votes
5%6 votes

| 108 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  This may seem random (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    abgin, ridemybike

    But you spelled favorable with a u. It's bothering me.  Otherwise, great work and nice analysis.  

  •  Simply support the Democratic nominees. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sadly, it's too late to take back the aid and comfort handed to John Boozman in 2010.  

    •  For me there is also another side (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It is necessary to assure a victory in the must win races for a Democratic majority.

      The support to the Democratic candidates is also a necessary thing, and I like to see some cases gaining traction, like ME-Sen.

  •  Thank you very much (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, wishingwell, ridemybike, kaliope

    Nice to see this diary and this little work in the Community Spotlight.

  •  Aberri Eguna (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jorge Harris, ridemybike, kaliope

    Just today is the Aberri Eguna = Basque Homeland Day.

    It is the national day of the Basque Country. A great day celebrated by the basques with Basque sentiment where they are. Also in the United States. And always the Easter Sunday.

    My best wishes for my native country in the Aberri Eguna.

  •  Wrong about Ohio, wrong wrong wrong (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, artmartin

    Kasich doesn't want to be a senator (if he's lucky enough to hang onto his governor's chair, it'll be by the skin of his teeth). And the used-up wishy-washy Mikey DeWhiny won't be making a Senate comeback at the ancient age of 71. He was able to slip into the lower profile AG seat by a scant margin in a GOP wave year. If it had not been a wave year, he would have lost. In a high-profile senate race, Brown would crush him again. Look for maybe Jon Husted to go for it instead if he doesn't go for governor. And I wouldn't be surprised if his owners have not given up on the execrable Josh Mandel, although his defeat in November might change that. Otherwise, their bench, unlike the Democratic bench in Ohio, is kind of thin. But a lot depends on exactly where the Republican Party is at by 2018 which is kind of unknowable now.

    Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

    by anastasia p on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 03:04:29 PM PDT

    •  Wrong? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ridemybike, kaliope

      The comment about OH-Sen 2018 only means that the Republicans in the generic part of the bench (statewide officers and US House representatives) likely would not make the race a Toss-Up in my oppinion, and they would be in LeanD or better zone.

      J Kasich and M DeWine can be the strongest potential challengers at this point for S Brown, stronger than the generic decent level Republicans. For me they are the alone that can make the race a Toss-Up. But I writed nothing about if they would run or not, or if they would win. All this was in the readers/voters hands, and the race has been placed in a critical position for a Democratic majority after 2018 elections. I agree that is a must win race.

      I think there are not signs to worry in the refered to this race. Not in the comment, and not in the place that the people give to the race.

  •  The 2016 presidential race (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ridemybike, abgin

    will have a huge impact on 2018.  If Hillary Clinton is the president, expect a conservative uprising in 2018 to rival 2010 or even 1994.  Obama may not be popular among republicans, but Hillary is a stand-in for the devil.  Remember, a lot of republicans were rooting for Obama to beat Hillary in 2008,...before they realized a black man could actually be elected president.  Under the President Hillary scenario, expect a lot of those Dem senators in red or pink/purple states to be in serious trouble.

    If Hillary doesn't run, which I still think is 50-50 at best, we'll either have a different Dem president, or a GOP president.  Under a GOP president, I think it's quite likely the Dems control the Senate after 2016 and 2018.  Under another Dem (who?, I can't even imagine another Dem that could win), I think a similar scenario to 2010 occurs, where the Dems stay home, and the Dem majority is in peril.  Under any scenario, the Dems probably take the Senate back in 2016, even if they lose it in 2014 (which I think is likely).  It's just hard for the GOP to offset presidential election year demographics in statewide blue state elections.

    So, it's way too early to even begin to contemplate Senate control in 2018, until we know who the president will be.

    •  With NC and Ark. looking better, I'd say at this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      time odds favor a D senate up to at least Nov., 2018
      and possibly longer.

    •  I agree with you in most of your comment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Still, I think the chance of H Clinton running is higher than 50-50. She expressed interest publicly in the race. I don't think she would have done it if she would not be seriously thinking about it.

      At this point most of the Democratic voters are waiting for Hillary. Being the frontrunner and being able to be the first woman President of the UN states, it would be hard but not impossible to replace her in the mind of the people.

  •  Have not heard of Kilgore challenging Mark (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    abgin, ridemybike

    Warner, who is up for reelection to the Senate this year. The Rethug who's challenging Warner is Ed Gillespie, one-time head of the RNC.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 05:09:37 PM PDT

    •  You are right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The comment was about VA-Sen 2018, that will be the re-election year for T Kaine.

      J Kilgore is mentioned as one example of the hardest kind of challenger that can find T Kaine that year.

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